Let's compare a Daoist country to the U.S.A. & China

Lots and lots of people know about Daoism and think it has a lot of cool ideas. But what would it actually look like to live in a Daoist country compared to the United States, or even modern China? Let's do a comparison!



Daoist Country

U.S.A.

China

Where most people live

Small villages

Cities

Mega-cities

Valued gender

Feminine

Masculine

Masculine

Government type

Local sage-leaders

Federalist democracy

Centralized party-rule

Technology

Only local, basic technology (farming and construction)

Advanced--society completely dependent upon technological system

Advanced--society completely dependent upon technological system

Work

Basic jobs for survival

Very specialized jobs within a consumer-driven economic system

Very specialized jobs within a consumer-driven economic system

Education

Learn from hands-on experience, knowledge is basic and limited to local needs

Trained to be productive within the global economic system; Education must be continuous to stay relevant

Trained to be productive within the global economic system; Education must be continuous to stay relevant

Military

Minimal, not displayed

Superpower capable of destroying entire countries, constantly displays military might

Superpower capable of destroying entire countries, constantly displays military might

Virtues

Kindness, moderation, not putting oneself first

Productivity, consumption, individualism

Productivity, consumption, obedience

Relationship with nature

Live within nature; humans aren't more significant than other beings

Dominate nature; humans are above all

Dominate nature; humans are above all

Relationship with others

Natural harmony, spontaneous

Transactional, legalistic, manners

Transactional, legalistic, manners

After looking at this, one thing is obvious, neither the U.S.A. nor China is very Daoist at all. They are really both on the other end of the spectrum of Daoism. In fact, we can see that the U.S.A. and China are in more ways than not, the same as each other. They are both urban, consumer-driven cultures that are obsessed with military power. Productivity is a key virtue in both countries as they vie for superiority.


When we talk about trying to be Daoist within these countries, we can quickly see that the society isn't structured in a way to be truly Daoist. We can try to be Daoist, but living within a non-Daoist country makes it very hard. It takes a lot of practice and awareness to maintain one's Daoist integrity if living in such a place.


Laozi saw over 2400 years ago that society and character would decline as people became more "civilized" and technologically "advanced." We can see the effects of living in a non-Daoist country. People are alienated from each other. There is distrust. The ecosystems are suffering immensely. The global climate is becoming erratic and unstable. People are superficial and contrived. The government is meddling and cares not for the people. Technology is making people full of hate and judgment. It is also making people out of touch with nature and how to live close with nature. It's very difficult for us to see how far gone our non-Daoist civilizations are because many of us believe that ours is the most progressive, superior civilization to have existed. I doubt Laozi would agree at all.

11 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All